Are Newcastle United still on course to get promoted?
I think they are and overwhelmingly so, despite the Bristol City draw, though I do think that getting on the front foot will make these remaining 13 matches a lot more comfortable.
The games, especially at home, where Newcastle end up having more and more possession in their own half, tend to be the matches where the odd wheel falls off.
I no way do I see simply lumping it forward as the answer but taking a few more risks and attacking at a higher tempo definitely appears to be the way to go.
When Newcastle keep hold of the ball for a dozen or more passes in their own half, it seems to then inevitably end up with either Karl Darlow kicking it and losing possession, or Jonjo Shelvey getting a two yard pass from Jamaal Lascelles on the edge of our own box and launching very unlikely Hollywood balls that have the same end result.
Getting Shelvey further up the pitch and taking a few chances on forcing the balls threaded forward with passes to feet, usually gets the opposition on the back foot.
Obviously the play usually gravitates to the right had side because Dummett and Gouffran invariably end up going backwards – whilst Ritchie and Yedlin on the right look far more dangerous when getting an early ball with more space to run into.
Things have become that more difficult with Jack Colback in the team rather than Isaac Hayden but Saturday showed that whoever the personnel in the team are, Newcastle committing themselves to an attacking emphasis makes us look a far better team.
The other problem as well is that apart from Ciaran Clark, none of the other three defenders are totally comfortable on the ball.
Lascelles is not far behind Mike Williamson when it comes to panicking when in possession and it was noticeable once again on Saturday, that the opposition were more than happy to get him with the ball and hope to then force mistakes from the United Captain.
Dummett is also not really wanting to get the ball and with so little pace, can get caught out. Yedlin has got the pace which gets him out of a lot of tricky situations but playing a lot of possession in tight spaces isn’t his forte, getting the ball into open space ahead of him and you see a much better player.
The other problem is that with Dwight Gayle missing, Mitrovic and Perez are far too slow to get in behind the opposition, so that rules out that tactic as well.
The obvious answer for me is to attack with pace as early and as often as possible down the right and then when there is a pull back, the likes of Perez and Mitro should be just about arriving and reap the benefits, rather than getting marked out of the game all too easily as happened against Bristol City.
(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])